In the Tampa Bay area, home inspections can create a challenge for sellers in real estate transactions. While savvy buyers realize the benefit of having a home inspected by competent professionals, for sellers the home inspector can be a harbinger of doom. Less than stellar results can kill the current offer price or even the entire deal.
One way to minimize the chance of potential negative discoveries by a buyer’s inspector is for the seller to have at least some inspections done before the property is even listed.
The top reason to discover issues before listing is so that the issues can be properly addressed. The seller may choose to make repairs or build repair costs into a discount on the property through disclosures. A decades-old seawall, for example, may or may not need to be repaired before listing the home for sale, but if there are known issues they should be disclosed in the listing.
On the other hand, if measures are not taken to discover and disclose defects or needed repairs, it puts the seller at a disadvantage in negotiations when the buyer schedules an inspection. Newly discovered faults are used to adjust their asking price or simply cancel the offer. Unfortunately, the property issues uncovered by inspections will probably not go away, and ethically, once defects are realized it is in the seller’s best interest to disclose. Undisclosed faults could eventually lead to litigation.
Remember, knowledge is power. This is displayed perfectly in your real estate transactions. As a seller, you should choose to do all the homework possible before listing a property. Inspections/certifications and appraisals are excellent tools to equip a seller to get the highest and best offer for a property. You want to hire a Realtor who understands this dynamic and can help you through the process.
Knowledge is also power for the buyer. Inspections, while not always required by the lender, are always in a buyer’s best interest. It may not even be necessary to hire a professional. Most AS IS contacts include an inspection period during which the prospective buyer can vacate the offer at any time for any reason. A full on inspection may not be necessary to discover major defects to a property. It may only require your own observations or that of an experienced home improvement professional. The time to use a certified inspector is when there are no obvious issues with a property or when you’re dealing with a specialized, major issue such as a seawall or a solar array.
While inspections may seem to be the bane of successful real estate deals, in reality they are invaluable to protect the buyer and the seller and assure a win-win home sale that leaves everyone satisfied.
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